BREAKING NEWS: According to recent reports, President Obama is a bully. He doesn’t play fair. Oh, and he hates America. Or something like that.
So goes the latest attempt by the Romney team to provide a counter-narrative to the one painted by the Obama camp in the aggressive Bain Capital ads being rolled out in swing states this summer.
In an interview with the Daily Beast Stuart Stevens, a Romney aide, said Obama’s justification of the Bain ads make him look like a bully:
“All the chest-pounding, the taunting, ‘no whining,’ ‘put on your big-boy pants’—he’d already become another politician in people’s eyes. And now he’s become another politician who’s bullying an opponent. I think that’s a big disappointment for people who like Barack Obama.”
It’s easy to count the ways in which Stevens’ analysis is off (namely the recent polls that show that people who have seen the Bain ads don’t feel the way Stevens says they do), but what’s easy isn’t always fun. What is fun, educational, and plainly, too good an opportunity to pass up, is a trip down memory lane.
In a Washington Post piece published on May 10th, the American public got to see what a real bully looks like, if only briefly. The WaPo story revealed that during Romney’s prep school days, Romney cornered a student, John Lauber, who presumably was gay and forcibly cut his hair with scissors while a crying Lauber screamed for help.
Romney couldn’t stand Lauber’s bleached-blonde hair, his soft-spoken mannerisms, his non-conformity. So Romney hacked off his hair in a chest-pounding frenzy and “then led his cheering schoolmates back to his bay-windowed room in Stevens Hall.”
Nothing happened. Romney was not disciplined and chuckled as he apologized in May about the incident he may have, or may not have remembered.
So Romney was, ya know, an actual bully. He preyed on the vulnerable and stomped out nonconformity. This story died as quickly as it was published, sparking a national conversation for a couple days, but at the end of the day, the American public just didn’t care. Which may seem counter-intuitive for me to bring up the issue again, but the point is, if a bullying claim, actual bullying claim that was well-researched and thorough, didn’t stick, what makes the Romney team think that a bullying claim casually tossed out during an interview will?
And this, is all the Romney team has been able to offer thus far. Half-hearted ad hominem attacks.